Many of Vancouver’s most renowned landmarks were built for the Expo ’86, including Canada Place – the centrepiece of the five-month-long World’s Fair.
The pier structure, which is now a convention centre, the upscale Pan Pacific Hotel, and tourist attraction all under one roof, was first used as the Canada Pavilion throughout the duration of the exhibition.
Fairgoers were shuttled to and from the main fairground site at False Creek by a special non-stop SkyTrain shuttle from the currently unused third platform of Stadium-Chinatown Station to Waterfront Station, with the Howe Street entrance used as the main entry and exit to the Canada Pavilion. This was also another entry point into the main fairgrounds.
Attractions and activities inside the five sails consisted of buskers, a special symphony of bells and whistles from ships and tugboats, elaborate exhibitions running on the transportation theme of ‘Canada in Motion, Canada in Touch’, and five theatres including an IMAX theatre.
Of course, much of the structure has changed since the bulk of the space was converted into the vast exhibition halls of the convention centre.
The pier structure itself was modified and significantly lengthened in 2001 with an $80-million project to provide the cruise ship facilities with the ability to berth more and longer vessels. Port Metro Vancouver’s offices sit underneath the flat white roof of this triangular-shaped tip extension.
The IMAX theatre closed its doors before the Olympics and was gutted and turned into the FlyOver Canada virtual flight ride attraction in 2013. As well, the original white sails suspended over the exhibition halls were replaced in 2011.